ABSTRACT – The lack of physicians in poorer areas is a matter of concern in developed and developing countries. This paper exploits location choices and individual characteristics of all generalist physicians who graduated in Brazil between 2001 and 2013 to study policies that aim at increasing the supply of physicians in underserved areas. We estimate physicians’ locational preferences using a random coefficients discrete choice model. We find that physicians have substantial utility gains if they work close to the region they were born or from where they graduated. We show that wages and health infrastructure, though relevant, are not the main drivers of physicians’ location choices. Simulations from the model indicate that quotas in medical schools for students born in underserved areas and the opening of vacancies in medical schools in deprived areas improve the spatial distribution of physicians at lower costs than financial incentives or investments in health infrastructure.

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